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Welcome to the 24th edition of the Proto48 Modeler. It is nearly Fall and a good time to dust off your workbench and get busy building a model or two.

This website is the place to find out information on 1/4" scale products and modeling techniques. Proto48 is a subset of the larger O scale model railroad hobby. We build to exact scale standards for wheels and track gauge.

This e magazine is focused on standard gauge modeling. Proto48 defines a gauge and wheel profile for locomotives, cars and track but it also expresses a concept of finescale modeling. Our models start out with the correct gauge of 4' 8 1/2" and scale wheel profile and continue throughout the model to create an accurately scaled replica of the prototype.

Modern urethane kits allow the Proto48 modeler recreate the prototype in miniature

Quarter-inch scale offers railroad modelers a huge potential in terms of size and mass. It is big enough to permit the craftsman to accurately portray things like underbody details, doors, roof walks and ladders. Proto48 standard gauge modelers tend to strive for higher levels of detail and accuracy like their narrow gauge brethren.

Proto48 is more than just model making it covers the building of layouts and the inclusion of prototypical operations. There are an amazing number of P48 layouts being construction around the country. They range in size from switching layouts to large railroads with many hundred feet of scale track. Check out the layout page on the Protocraft website to see a few of the layouts built or being built.


If you don't have room or time to build a layout, you may be lucky enough to find some fellow modelers in your area that you can share your interest.

You will find a number of new items listed. We can always use more material that will permit more issues to be published each year. As always we are indebted to the modelers who take the time to send material to share with others. We hope that this spirit of sharing will continue allowing us to bring fresh material to the web so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Lead Photo: Jim Zwernmann took this picture of his layout. The layout is coming along very well and he has shared a number pictures of his work.

OST Publications
PO Box 297, Richmond, Indiana 47375


Mike Cougill, is now the sole owner of OST Publishing. OST Publications have several books out on creating highly detailed track and turnouts in P48 and an electronic magazine that covers both P87 and P48. It is called The Missing Conversation. Each magazine provides a progression of thought toward scale railroad modeling.

Proto48 Blogs on the Web

Blogs are becoming a popular way to communicate with modelers of similar interests.   There have been a few blogs that have been going for some time and a new one or two.

George Losse has been running a website for some time that is informative and entertaining.  He travels to a lot of the O scale shows on the East Coast and provides a narrative and photos of his visits.   George will often get pictures of new products that are being shown.   You will find a number of helpful ideas and techniques as he builds his Reading Company Shamokin Division railroad in P48.

OST Blog

Mike Cougill is another blogger who provides an informative and useful discussion on modeling. You will find interesting material his current and past blogs.

Gene's P48 Blog
I decided to try a blog as a method of sharing my layout and model building experiences.  Layout building is new to me and the blog is a way of gathering information from other modelers.

Updates to the Site:

  • New products that are usable by Proto48 and standard O (rolling stock)
  • New photos of Jim Zwernemann's models

Industry News, Shows and New Products:

The latest information about new and interesting products that are useful the Proto48 modeler as shown below:

Regional O Scale Shows with Proto48 Content:

O Scale West Convention
5-7 February 2015 Santa Clara, CA

O Scale West will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center as in previous years.You can obtain more information about the event at this site http://www.oscalewest.com

Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet
14-16 March 2015 Lombard, IL

The show is held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. The show has a huge selling floor, operating layouts including a Proto48 modular display. Visit their website for more details.

Indianapolis O Scale Fall, Convention
19-20 September 2014
Wyndham Indianapolis West, West 2544 Executive Drive
This fall meet will be expanded to include the normal National O convention. James Canter will be heading up the show. If you live in the area, you should consider going.

O Scale National Convention
TBD 2015

Stocking Dealers:

Des Plaines Hobbies
1524 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

The shop moved to a new location in the same shopping center. The new store is even larger than the previous location. They stock 1/48 scale and building supplies.

Caboose Hobbies
500 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Stocks San Juan trucks and wheels

Coronado Scale Models
1544 Cypress Street, Phoenix, AZ  85006
(602) 254-9656

This shop has served the needs of fine scale modelers for over 40 years. The owners are active scale modeler having produced some beautiful locomotives and cars. Their shop offers excellent mail order service and knowledgeable assistance. You might check out the Photo Gallery for some of Stan Schwedler's fine work.

Sources of Prototype Information:

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia
RP CYC Publications Co.
P.O. Box 451
Chesterfield, MO 63006

The team of Ed Hawkins and Patrick Wider has produced 27 volumes of important information on prototype railroads with a primary emphasis on steam and early diesel era subject matter. The most recent issue covers early AC&F 70-ton covered hoppers. The volume covers the subject in great detail. It covers all roads and versions. Variations in hatch design, side panels and mechanical details are all covered.

Steam Era Freight Cars

This website has been around for a while and recently taken over by Rob Adams. The original site was created by Ted Culotta but his Speedwitch business (now out of business) took off and allowed little time for the site. Rob is now updating the website with a new format and more useful information.

Supplier News:

American Switch & Signal
13052 Ratliff Run
Fishers, IN 46037-6266

John Pautz has added several new switch parts to his lineup within the past month. All of the parts are made from Right O' Way rail and are cast in nickel silver. He has a wide range of frogs, guard rails and points for popular rail sizes. See the latest brochure in the Suppliers section.

All of the parts are done to Proto48 track standards.

Link to PDF

Latest Catalog

O Scale Turnouts, INC
P.O. Box 8183052 Ratliff Run
Hamburg, MI 48139

O Scale Turnouts has been doing turnouts of standard O scale (5' gauge) for a while. They are now testing the market to see if modelers are interested in ready to install turnouts in P48. We received a sample of a Code 125 #8 turnout. The rail is nickel silver that is soldered to several PC board ties. The balance of ties are stained wood with the rail bonded using an epoxy adhesive. The key components used are from American Switch & Signal and are cast nickel silver. The sample turnout is in-gauge and flows nicely. It has gaps to isolate the frog for DCC operation.

This produce should start to fill a gap for those who want to use flex-track and pre-built turnouts. Please respond to O Scale Turnouts and support the product.

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts
P.O. Box 7
Bay View
Napier 4149, New Zealand

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts has been producing some very interesting detail sets for the 1/4” scale modeler.   They have focused on narrow gauge but most of their sets are directly applicable to standard gauge.  They several white metal figure sets and a 1937 Pontiac sedan cast in urethane.   The Proto48 Modeler recently received a sample of their figure sets and have to rate them very highly.  

Most of their product line can be obtained directly from New Zealand or from Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix.   

Burlington Roundhouse
Milepost 206 Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 543
West Burlington, IA 52655

A new firm has entered the O scale parts business.  Their first releases are very impressive with a variety of steam generator and metallic steam lines for first generation GP and SD locomotives. The parts are shown on CB&Q diesels but they would work for a wide range of prototype roads. 

Forsyth Rail Services
6331 State Route 2067
Susquehanna, PA 18847

Matt is a very talented builder in brass.  He has established an excellent reputation for loco conversions to Proto48 and for major rebuilding of imported brass.  His workmanship, painting and finishing is first rate.   Recently, Matt rebuilt a N&W K-1 from the ground up for the publisher of O Scale Trains.   Go to Matt’s website and enjoy his photo essay on the conversion. 

If you have a pet project that is in need of professional help, check out Matt. 


Archer Transfers
PO Box 1277
Youngsville, NC 27596

Archer Transfers has solved one of the more difficult problems in modeling steel equipment.   They have invented a process to deposit a 3D resin on Microscale clear decal film.   They have expanded their line to include various rivet patterns and sizes, safety tread material, fasteners, panel lines and even louvers.   The product is very useful not only to solve difficult fabrication projects but it also saves a lot of time.   The decal is cut out and applied to the model like a normal Microscale product.   We recommend you do not use any decal solvent until it is has evaporated all of the water and you are happy with the position.   Then you can apply the solvent around the edges.   The film will disappear.   The decals must be covered with paint since it will chip off otherwise.  

Rails Unlimited
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, IL

Rails Unlimited purchased the old line of Chooch urethane kits that were sold to Berkshire Valley.   In addition, Rails Unlimited has released a new kit for a Lehigh Valley wood sheathed boxcar.   The patterns were done by Lee Turner.   The kit comes with a Duryea underframe found on the prototype cars.   Ted announced his latest urethane kit for the Northern Pacific 36' double sheathed boxcar.   He also releasing a series of 1932 ARA steel boxcars based upon the old Turner patterns.

Glacier Park Models
P.O. Box 244
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-391-4476 (voice), 707-463-6988 (fax)

A big surprise at 2014 O Scale West this year was the announcement by Glacier Park Models of the purchase and retooling of the San Juan Car Company drop bottom gondola project.  The design package and tooling is now being modified or redone by GPM for release in September 2014 timeframe.   Many of the original dies were not shooting properly when first done by John Parker at SJCC.   It never got beyond running a few test shots.   Partial fills on the sides and some basic dimensional issues put the whole project on the back burner.   Subsequent illness of the designer and John Parker pretty much doomed the project. 

That is where Jimmy Booth stepped in.  He is charging ahead to redo the kit and add the steel version.   The car will be redesigned to accept the new Protocraft coupler so a Kadee or other coupler would likely fit.   New decals will be done by Protocraft using Rick Leach artwork. 

Glacier Park has announced their latest ¼" scale project.  They are planning to import a series of logging tank Mallets.   The models will be detailed, painted and lettered for specific prototype locomotives.  They will cover Clover Valley #4, Feather River #4 and four different Weyerhauser locos (#108, 110 and 111).   The models are being built by Boo Rim and will be offered with P48 wheel conversion kits.   Contact your dealer or GPM for details.   Don't wait to the last minute since they are only building what is ordered.    GPM locomotives sell out within the first month of arrival in the country. 

See the following catalog pages for images of the prototypes:

Tank loco flyer page 1

Tank loco flyer page 2

Tank loco flyer page 3

O Scale Resource Magazine

Glenn Guerra and Dan Dawdy have launched a new online magazine called the O Scale Resource Magazine.   The first issue is now available on their website and is free.   Their first effort is well done and is a worthwhile read.    The magazine will be published bimonthly and be available online.   You can also sign up to receive a notification when the next issue is released.


Mullet River Model Works
118 Hudson Court, Plymouth, WI 53073

Mullet River Model Works has slowed down on production due to the economy.  They have decided to be careful with building up inventories of parts and kits.  However, there are new items in the works.  They have been busy preparing new kits for you.   The latest models are the CB&Q caboose shown below. The kit consists of laser-cut wood, etched brass underframe and details and decals.   Mullet River is moving into the world of Rapid Prototyping using 3D CAD to design objects and having them created in a 3D form.  The RP part is often done in wax so that the part can be used in the lost wax investment process.

OST Publications
PO Box 289, Exton PA 19341-0289


Mike Cougill, partner in OST Publishing, has several books out on creating highly detailed track and turnouts in P48 and an electronic magazine that covers both P87 and P48.  It is called The Missing Conversation.  Each magazine provides a progression of thought toward scale railroad modeling.

RY Models
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing, PA 19610

RY Models continues to import good quality brass rolling stock and trucks.  They expect to receive the ATSF Bx-6 double sheathed boxcar and Sk-2 stock car very soon.  The model has been well received and is nearly sold out.  Prices at his factory in China have gone up and this being reflected in product pricing.

Visit their website to catch up on their new releases and pricing.

PO Box 21
Vineburg, CA 95487-0021
(707) 935-7011 (voice message)

Protocraft has introduces a new diesel drive for small switchers like SW-1 or ALCO S-2. The drive uses a Faulhaber 22:1 gearhead motor with stout motor mount/ belt drive tower. The wheelbase will be customized to fit the particular locomotive model.  The axle/gearbox units are ball bearing units turning Protocraft steel wheels. The design represents the talents of Terry Van Winkle, Jay Criswell and Norm Buckhart. It was design to power smaller units. The drive is super-smooth as you would expect. The retail is $154.95 per truck. Some may want to use two units to provide a fair amount of grunt for a small unit.  

RL Design
14123 206th St.
S.E., Snohomish, WA 98296-3947

Rick Leach has prepared a new decal set for Northern Pacific heavyweight passenger cars. The set covers Pullmans, coaches, baggage and RPO as well as express cars. In addition, Rick did the correct lettering for a number of the road's gas electrics like B-12/14 and later St. Louis-built cars. The lettering is an imitation gold and is specially blended to go over dark colors like Pullman Green. It will shift color to a deep yellow tone. The set is currently available direct at $20 for two sheets. Each set will do four cars. Only 25 sets were produced so don't think about it too long.

The decal art was directly traced from photos for each letter and number. It is the most accurate set available. Rick had them printed by San Juan Decals. The screen work is fantastic picking even the lightest line weights on the of characters. Next up from RL is the super Northern Pacific diesel set that covers all styles and type used by the NP.

Please note that Rick is now taking PayPal for payment as well as checks and money orders. Check out the catalog sheet for ordering information.


Red Cliff Miniatures
2166 Thomas Trail
Santa Clara, UT 84765


Jim Harper has purchased back his old line of switch and track detailing parts from his former hobby shop.   He is now offering an extensive line of Code 100 and 125 track parts.

San Juan Car Company
P. O. Box 1028
Durango, Colorado 81302
Phone: 970-385-5256

The new San Juan Evolution Type-E coupler has arrived in the country. The coupler is near-perfect scale rendering of the prototype standard gauge coupler. They made a few minor compromises to allow for automatic magnetic uncoupling. The coupler has the identical shank to the older Type-E working coupler. The coupler is available in brown and black They retail for $6.95 for two pair fully assembled.

The new frameless UTLX standard gauge tank has arrived as well. They should be in the hands of dealers and via the San Juan website.

Scale Hardware
1736 NE 16 Street
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33304
(954) 609-4108

Scale Hardware offers a wide range of small details machined from brass that will become an indispensable part of your parts selection.   The offer scale machined rivets and simulated square nuts and hex nut along with bolts.   In addition, you will find a range of very small threaded bolts, nuts and taps.   The smallest threaded bolt listed is .5 mm which as a .020” threaded body.  

Southern Car and Foundry
970 Sunshine Land, Suite D
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

SC&F is getting back to the train business after a brisk year of commercial model building. The first new kit will be a Missouri Kansas and Texas singled sheathed boxcar. The latest kit features a one-piece body. Assembly involves detailing the urethane body and underframe. This includes all of the details but does require couplers, trucks and decals. The decals are available from Protocraft in either black or white lettering. The kit includes two types of door guides so any of the 95000 and 96000 series cars can be built. The prototype cars were painted in either chrome yellow with black lettering or freight car red with white lettering.

Price and availability will be announced shortly.      

Wild Swan Publications, LTD
1-3 Hagbourne Road
Didcot, Oxon  OX11 8DP

Wild Swan Publications has a wide range of books on English railroading.  Recently, the published two soft-bound books on Modeling Trees by Gordon Gravett.  The first part covers Broadleaf trees and second on Conifers.   The basic technique involves build an armature (trunk) of florist wire and covering it with a mixture of plaster and PVA glue.  The author has illustrated the book with many model and actual tree photos along with a number of very useful techniques.  

A third volume is about to be released.  The latest book by Gordon Gravett deals with modeling grasslands and landscape detailing.  I have not seen the book yet.

I first learned of the books through Trevor Marshall and his Port Rowan blog.  It is S scale but he is an entertaining author and shows many techniques for layout building that work in any scale.   Visit Trevor's blog and enjoy.  http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/

You will also enjoy seeing Gordon Gravett's work on a 1:50 scale French meter gauge railway.  Everything is scratchbuilt.  Stunning work to say the least.


Chooch Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 1200, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Chooch Enterprises has created a new page for the O scale parts. It includes a different ordering method than in the past. They are a key supplier of critical detail parts for rolling stock both freight and passenger.  Mike O'Connell recently mentioned that he has recently restocked all of the parts listed on his website.    You find really accurate details for boxcars and reefers as well as rebuilt passenger cars. 

The parts can be ordered directly from the Chooch website.

Chooch offers the most complete set of wood and steel door hardware available in O Scale.  This includes the Camel #32 top and the Camel #50 bottom roller.

Steel freight cars used this type of bracketed grab iron.  The part is intended to upgrade Intermountain parts.

This ladder and stirrup set is designed as an upgrade to the Intermountain boxcar hardware but can be used on other models as well.


Updated December 31, 2014